Joined: 24 December 2005
Reality bites: Is the audience voting out potential winners?
|Friday - Mar 24, 2006|
The Televisionpoint.com Special - Sitaram Sundalia
While reality television shows like Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge, Fame Gurukul, Nach Baliye enjoy high TRP ratings due to audience involvement, they also raise the question about whether it is fair that the audience be asked to vote out a contestant, especially when the show has judges who are professionals in their respective fields. With a series of judge walkouts following potentially talented contestants being voted out, the great divide between popular choice and merit is becoming far more evident on prime time television.
Farah Khan, a judge on Indian Idol says defensively, "The format of Indian Idol is based on American Idol and we cannot tamper with it. Moreover, both the contestants and judges know the rules of the show and about audience voting. At times even we judges get shocked at the choice of the audience. However, the show is popular because of the audience voting factor. The audience connects more to a show when they are allowed to be a part of the judging process."
But is it fair on the contestant? "Participants become household names within three to four months of participating in such shows. Otherwise, it would have taken them a good 10 years or so to even get their talent recognized, forget about being popular with the masses. With these reality shows, contestants get instant fame and their popularity soars," Farah says.
Speaking about the audience voting factor, Neha Kakkar, an ex-Indian Idol contestant says, "I don't know whether to call it fair or unfair. I have realized that the Indian audience votes from the heart. Moreover, people tend to support contestants from their region. Audiences should keep their differences aside while voting. I had a lot of expectations from myself when I participated in Indian Idol. I sang well and performed well too. I don't understand what the audience found lacking in me and why they voted me out." Not angry at what happened with her in the contest, she however, says that it is sad that people with true potential are being eliminated.
Backing her statement, Fame Gurukul finalist Rex D'souza says, "Region-based voting is another big problem of the public voting system. People should remember that are choosing a person who will be titled an Indian Idol, or a Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge winner or a Fame Gurukul Challenge winner. It is important that they choose someone who will be accepted nationally," he adds.
Farah acknowledges that while sometimes the audience gets it right, it also gets it wrong quite often. According to singer Shaan who hosts Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge, "We can't expect everyone to know who is right and who is wrong. When we come from numerous contestants to about 10 or 12, and even lower, it becomes quite obvious as to who is a good performer and who is bad. Even at the final stages, those who do not perform well or who make some mistakes while performing, get less votes on that day, no matter how good they are otherwise."
He adds that, "On Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge, even when the decision was taken solely by the judges, we faced similar criticism like we are facing now. A change could proverbially land us from the frying pan into the fire," he adds laughingly Rex adds, "Public voting is a part of the format of these shows and when we sign up to participate we are told about this. The judges too know about it and it really makes no sense when judges walk out of a show because they feel that the audience has voted out a good singer. Audience voting cannot really be termed as unfair as the participants are told right at the beginning itself that they will either be voted in or out by the audience. They should be ready for it."
He says that audiences votes on who they think are good. He maintains that the public should think well before it votes. "They should not vote a person out and then crib that they want him or her back in because they are good singers. This is not fair. Someone or the other has to go out in these contest," he says.
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